The second day we were in country in Ethiopia, we had the chance to go to the foster center where Malachi had stayed the bulk of his time. It was such a great thing to experience as we got to see the house he knew as home, meet the kids who were his friends, and especially get to spend time with the caretakers. Each of the kids has one or two main caregivers who call themselves the kids' "special mother." Malachi's "special mother" was a wonderful lady named Geti (sp?) who you see in the video. It was clear how much Malachi loved her from the way his face lit up the moment we walked into the compound and saw her. This was probably the first time we got to see his playful, happy personality (though it is on full display in our home today) as you could tell he was so much more comfortable.
While on the trip, I had the chance to read Dr. Russell Moore's book "Adopted for Life" which is an absolute must read. In it he describes his experience of taking his boys from the orphanage in Russia by saying, "They'd never seen the sun, and they'd never felt the wind. They had never heard the sound of a car door slamming or felt like they were being carried along a road at 100 miles an hour. I noticed that they were shaking and reaching back to the orphanage in the distance . . . I whispered to Sergei, now Timothy, 'That place is a pit! If only you knew what's waiting for you -- a home with a mommy and a daddy who loves you, grandparents and great-grandparents and cousins and playmates and McDonald's Happy Meals!' But all they knew was the orphanage. It was squalid, but they had no other reference point. It was home." He goes on to say, "My whispering to my boys, 'You won't miss that orphanage' is only a shadow of something I should have known already. Our Father tells us that we too are unable to grasp what's waiting for us -- and how glorious it really is. It's hard for us to long for an inheritance to come, a harmonious Christ-ruled universe, when we've never seen anything like it . . . We must learn to be children, not orphans . . . [but] we don't fully believe that our new Father will feed us, so we hang on to our scraps and long for the regimented schedules of the orphanage from which we've come. And when our Father pushes us along to new tastes, we pout that he's not good to us. But he's readying us for glory, preparing us to take our place on thrones as heirs."
I read this with the image of Malachi with the workers fresh in my mind, how he latched on to them, how he playfully ran from us to the safety of their arms, and how in that moment, he chose the care of orphanage workers over the care of his mommy and daddy. It was so much fun to watch the slow transition that week we were in Ethiopia when he stopped reaching for African women, any African woman, rather than staying in Brandy's arms, and to think of where he is now, where those same faces you see in the video that he made with those workers are the faces we see every morning when we walk in to get him out of his crib.
My prayer is that I will increasingly grow in my love for my true Father, rejecting the old ways of the orphanage of my sin and flesh, that my life will delight in walking in His ways even when they don't make sense to me, and that I will grow in my longing for the day when my adoption is complete.
Enjoy the video!